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New Web Page ?DirectElection.Org? Has Contact Information for Many Presidential Electors (December 7, 2016, 03:34 AM)

Jeff Strabone, a New York voter, has set up the webpage It has the postal addresses of 260 candidates for presidential elector. It also has information about the history of the electoral college, and the history of attempts to abolish it. The purpose of the web page is to assist individuals who wish to write postal messages to candidates for presidential elector.

Two Colorado Presidential Electors Sue to Establish that they can Vote Freely in the Electoral College (December 7, 2016, 03:09 AM)

On December 6, two Colorado presidential electors sued the Governor and Secretary of State of Colorado, to establish that they, and all presidential electors, have a constitutional right to vote for any qualified presidential candidate when they vote as electors on December 19. Baca v Hickenlooper, 1:16cv-2986.

The two electors, Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich, received an e-mail from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office on November 18. The e-mail says, “1-4-304(5) of Colorado Revised Statutes state that presidential electors shall (must) vote for the presidential/vice-presidential ticket that receives the most votes in the state. Thus, if an elector failed to follow this requirement, our office would likely remove the elector and seat a replacement elector until all nine electoral votes were cast for the winning candidates.” The e-mail is signed by Joel Albin, Ballot Access Manager, Elections Division.

Baca and Nemanich are Democrats. They have been telling the public and the news media that they believe the Republican nominees for president and vice-president would, if sworn into office, do great harm to the United States. Baca and Nemanich say they have been communicating with other presidential electors from both major parties, hoping to form a group of electors would who vote for a candidate other than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The basis for their lawsuit is that they face an imminent threat of being replaced as electors, and that such a replacement would violate Article Two, and the Twelfth and First Amendments.

Here is the eight-page complaint.

The case is assigned to Judge Wiley Daniel, a Clinton appointee.

New York State Court Upholds Deadline for Voters to Switch Parties (December 6, 2016, 11:12 PM)

On December 6, a New York state trial court held a hearing in Moody v New York State Board of Elections. At the conclusion of the oral argument, the judge ruled for the state. The issue is the very early deadline for a voter to switch parties. People who wanted to vote in the Democratic or Republican presidential primaries of April 2016 had to have been registered into that party by October 2015. No other state has a similar deadline. See this story.

U.S. District Court Sets Hearing Date for Stein Lawsuit Over Pennsylvania Recount (December 6, 2016, 08:41 PM)

A U.S. District Court in Philadelphia will hear Stein v Cortes, 2:16cv-6287, on Friday, December 9, at 1:30 pm in Courtroom 6B. This is the lawsuit over whether Jill Stein is entitled to a presidential recount in Pennsylvania. A state court ruled earlier that the voters who want the recount must pay $1,000,000, and that the Stein campaign can’t pay that for them.

Sixth Circuit, by 2-1 Vote, Says U.S. District Court Was Correct to Expedite Michigan Recount (December 6, 2016, 08:37 PM)

On December 6, the Sixth Circuit voted 2-1 that the U.S. District Court was correct to expedite the Michigan presidential recount. Stein v Thomas, 16-2690. The two judges in the majority were Eric Clay, a Clinton appointee; and Bernice Donald, an Obama appointee. The judge in the minority is David McKeague, a Bush Jr. appointee.

Meanwhile, the Michigan legislature, which has a Republican majority, is advancing a bill to provide that candidates who lose by more than 5% in the initial count must pay the entire cost of recounts. The bill is intended to be retroactive. Current law requires a substantial payment from candidates who request a recount, but the state says the legal requirement for Stein’s payment amount is not nearly enough to pay for the recount.

Jill Stein Sets New Record for a Write-in Presidential Candidate in North Carolina (December 6, 2016, 02:23 PM)

The North Carolina State Board of Elections has finished its election returns for the November 8, 2016 election. Jill Stein received 12,104 write-ins for president. This is the largest number of presidential write-ins ever recorded in a North Carolina general election. The previous record had been Ralph Nader’s 1996 showing of 2,108.

It is conceivable that Ralph Nader might have received even more than 12,104 for president in North Carolina in 2000, his strongest year. However, because he didn’t qualify to have his write-ins tallied in 2000, no one will ever know. North Carolina won’t tally presidential write-ins unless the candidate files and submits a petition signed by 500 registered voters.

The November 2016 returns also show that 47,381 write-ins for president, for candidates other than Jill Stein, were cast. North Carolina county election officials were thus obliged to examine a total of 59,485 presidential write-ins, in order to tally the Stein write-ins. This was undoubtably costly and time-consuming. One hopes that North Carolina county election officials will realize that if Stein had been on the ballot, taxpayer money and resources would have been saved. If county election officials asked the legislature for a liberalization of the ballot access laws, at least for president, the legislature might listen. Thanks to Kevin Hayes for the news.

Alabama Legislature Passed Bill in August 2016, Providing that Write-in Votes Need Not be Counted in Most Cases (December 6, 2016, 02:14 PM)

In August 2016, the Alabama legislature, meeting in special session, passed HB 19. It went into effect immediately. It was introduced August 15, 2016, and was entirely enacted on August 24, 2016. It says that write-in votes should not be counted unless the total number of write-ins for a particular office is greater than the margin between the winning candidate’s total and the second-place candidate’s vote total.

Alabama never has had a write-in declaration of candidacy law. Until this law took effect, all write-ins were valid and all were to be counted. In past presidential elections, the Secretary of State would not tally any write-in state totals, but the counties were required to tally write-ins and to report them to the Secretary of State. Although the Secretary of State would not tally statewide totals for any write-in candidate, the Secretary would include copies of the county write-in results on his web page. So, in the past, it was possible for anyone to tally them, but because the state totals didn’t come from the Secretary of State, none of the books that tally nationwide election returns would ever include any Alabama write-in totals. Therefore, in practice, HB 19 won’t have much effect.

The bill was initiated by Alabama county election officials, who disliked doing the work of recording the write-in votes. Thanks to Joshua Cassity for this news.

Pennsylvania Greens Hold Rally in State Capitol Building in Favor of Better Vote-Counting Machines (December 6, 2016, 12:23 PM)

On December 5, the Pennsylvania Green Party held a rally in the Pennsylvania state capitol building, urging the legislature to eliminate vote-counting machines that leave no audit trail. See this story.

Al Gore Endorses National Popular Vote Plan (December 5, 2016, 11:37 PM)

Last week Al Gore said he favors eliminating the electoral college. According to this article in The Hill, on December 5 he endorsed the national popular vote plan.

Texas Republican Presidential Elector Christopher Suprun Won?t Vote for Donald Trump (December 5, 2016, 06:30 PM)

Christopher Suprun, a Texas Republican presidential elector, writes in this op-ed that he will not vote for Donald Trump on December 19. The op-ed is on-line at the New York Times, and perhaps will be in the paper edition on December 6. Thanks to Political Wire for the link.

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